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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Accident Injury
December 2002

Q. My son had an MRI of his brain (he is 21 years old) which showed that he had a CVA and a blood clot in his brain. He has no feeling in his upper right arm (left sided CVA). He had a car accident approximately 2 years ago where he was thrown out of the passenger window and the car flipped over him and "bruised" his heart--this was when he first had difficulty with his right arm.

What possible treatment is there for him and where can I get more info on this CVA related to cardiac trauma as I have only seen info on older people with strokes. What, if anything, can be done for the blood clot in his brain and what are the risks?

A. There is always some hope based on being young and healthy before the trauma, though nerve tissue is very slow to repair after injury. Although it seems logical to remove the blood clot, this is not likely. The location of a clot is often inaccessible and the procedure risky, and would not guarantee recovery. The reason is that the tissue where the blood supply is impaired has already been damaged.

The body's own healing process may dissolve the clot over time, and new blood vessels can grow around the clot, but the damage remains. There are rehab facilities that specialize in recovery after neurologic injury; this would be the best place to be treated. Prevention of another clot may require medication or other measures; your neurologist can advise you in this regard.



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